Day 20: The Maiden, Intonation

Today, Roderick introduces us to a concept that I’ve never really seen utilized in Wicca: Intonation. I’ve seen chanting, of course, and while there are similarities, there are also significant differences between the two. Intonation is basically sustaining one sound, such as the stereotypical “om” until you literally have no breath left. Then you fill your lungs to bursting and begin the sound again. Chanting is repeating/singing/saying a phrase or word over and over and over.

In his list of correspondences, Roderick gives the Maiden’s vocalization as a long u as in ‘you,’ her color as orange, her direction as northeast, her time as the darkness that precedes the dawn, and her magical number as two. Today’s intonation practice incorporates as many of these symbols as it can in order to tap into that unconscious mind.


To begin, look in a local newspaper or in an almanac to find the exact time of dawn today. Set your alarm clock so that you are awakened one hour prior to dawn. Use your compass to located the northeast and find a comfortable sitting position while facing that direction. Be sure you are sitting in such a way that your spine is aligned and balanced–perpendicular to the floor. Set an orange candle before you, light it, and cast your gaze upon the flame. Take a deep breath that expands the lungs and fills the belly as well. As you exhale, begin to vocalize the sound “u” (which should sound like ‘you’). Sustain the sound until all air vacates your lungs. Then allow the inhalation to arise from this emptiness, and again fill your lungs to capacity. Repeat the intonation for a second time. When you finish the second intonation, sit in silence for 15-20 minutes to allow the essence of this intonation to realign your consciousness. Extinguish the candle when finished.

Oy. It’s a good thing I happened to catch the time requirements on this the day before, or I would have been highly put out. As it turned out, I wasn’t exactly a bowl of daisies. At this point in life, I’m used to waking up at 9 or 10 in the morning. 5:30 has been seen only a handful of times since I graduated from college. (I know, something’s horribly wrong in that statement.)

So I was thoroughly grouchy and pretty scatterbrained as I rolled out of bed this morning. I couldn’t find an orange candle (and got a little bit pissed about it), so settled on a white one instead (magically all-purpose, and to be honest, I think it’s a little more appropriate what with the maiden’s ‘potential’ focus) and compensated by adding a stick of myrrh incense to the mix. I quietly slipped outside so I wouldn’t wake anyone up and found myself facing a surprisingly busy 53rd Street.

Things really didn’t get better from there. Try as I might, my back just wouldn’t straighten and I just couldn’t force myself to strive for full lung capacity. So my intonations were as feeble as a feather in a hurricane and just as magically powerful. But they were what they were, and I did my best to sit in silence and “allow the essence of this intonation to realign your consciousness.”

My consciousness likes karaoke.

Seriously. All I could ‘hear’ were the lyrics to the last verse of Anna Nalick’s Wreck of the Day, which goes:

Driving away from the wreck of the day
And it’s finally quiet in my head
Driving alone, finally on my way home to the comfort of my bed
And if this is giving up, then I’m giving up
If this is giving up, then I’m giving up, giving up
On love, On love

I got really pissed at myself, but by the fourth or fifth repeat of the verse it struck me that this particular song is essentially about frustrated potential. At the end of the day, sometimes what you thought it could have been is completely derailed. This is the dark maiden. Potential unrealized and damaging. Another warning, perhaps?

One thought on “Day 20: The Maiden, Intonation

  1. You know, I really appreciate that you actually noticed the song in your head as part of the experience instead of chalking it up to an “inability to focus” or whatever. Food for thought, right there. Thank you.

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